“Kings from Queens, from Queens come kings…..”
VH-1’s Ultimate Albums is starting to be even more entertaining than Behind The Music. Instead of the usual storyline (“band is born, band gets popular, band descends into deep, desolate hell from drinking, drugging and divorcing, band recoveres, band makes terrible music that sells millions”), this show goes into some details about how a particular album was made, the circumstances, the atmosphere and the personalities involved behind the consoles. Last night’s episode profiled the making of RUN-DMC’s “Raising Hell,” which arguably could be called one of the most pivotal pop albums of all-time. “Raising Hell” essentially ushered in the popularity of rap music. Oh sure, The Sugar Hill Gang had rap’s first true hit back in the late ’70s, but “Raising Hell” brought rap to the mainstream, delivered it to the suburbs and instantly had teens abuzz – all the makings of a pivotal album. Great show last night and a tremendous album. My two favorite parts:

1. The fact that when they were first sampling “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith, they had no idea who the band was or what the song was because all DJs pulled the labels off of vinyl so as not to get caught illegally “scratching” vinyl for copyright reasons.
2. Grandmaster Flash gently ripping on Blondie for her pathetic attempt at rap on the tune “Rapture.”
3. Old Rick Rubin pictures. Funny stuff.

Catch the show if you can. If VH-1 had any sense, they’d put the whole Behind The Music and Ultimate Albums series on DVD and watch the greenbacks roll in.

Darryl Kile, All-Star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, dies in his sleep at the age of 33 over the weekend, apparantly from hardening of the arteries. How is this even possible? Especially a professional athlete. A few things I can comment on here: a) this guy was a bigtime pitcher – I always liked watching him pitch, b) it’s beyond me how the medical staff of the Cardinals didn’t see any problems. Before each season, these players supposedly undergo very thorough physical examinations – and they didn’t find any problems? I would hope, based on the amount of money these baseball players get paid (and how much it costs to insure them) that the exams involve a complete test of the central organ in the body! Apparantly they do not? I don’t know. I do know that each player does have a stress test before each season, but I am not sure if they can detect coronary hardening that way. Either way, this is an incredible tragedy. Watching the Cardinals before the game last night was so sad – those guys were still visibly shaken up. Unreal.